Monday, October 22, 2018

Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction.

It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly.  - Henry David Thoreau: (1817 – 1862: was an American essayist, poet, & philosopher)

Gospel Text: (LK 12:13-21)
Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”
Then he said to the crowd,
“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

Then he told them a parable.
“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, ‘What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?’
And he said, ‘This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’
But God said to him,
‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’
Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself
but is not rich in what matters to God.”

The parable of the rich man in today’s gospel illustrates the reality of a state of dependence while operating under the illusion of control.  He boldly directs his future path:  tear down these barns and build bigger ones!  My dreams are large!  I will choose them!  But the control that he imagines last for a very short time.  He eventually must reconcile his dreams to the reality that he is not controlling anything.  He must travel another path, which is not of his choosing. 

There is much about this current world that differs from what we might choose.  We do not control the ages to come.  We are given many choices, but they are not always the choices we desire.  But these scriptures point to a goodness that is deeper and richer than our desire.  Our desires may only be for bigger barns, but the gift we are given is greater than this limited imagination.  What does that look like?  What will that gift mean to us?  What will satisfaction feel like, when we have only longing in this world? 

These readings leave us in our unsatisfactory state.  They remind us that we are not all we think we are, at least not yet.  And yet they hold promise for us to persist and to carry on in faith.  They point us toward God, who holds the future.  The ages to come will yield their fruit, and that fruit will not disappoint.   Thanks be to God.

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